Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is one of the most advanced business support systems to emerge in the last decade. ERP started as a way to streamline manufacturing but has since evolved into a complete management reporting system with the potential to drive rapid business growth.
Various obstacles to business growth include a poorly designed business plan – if you do not plan for growth, you rarely achieve it. Building ERP into your business model from the outset can be advantageous for several reasons. Most growing businesses require more employees and more space. Failure to take on new staff or move to larger premises is often a reason for slower than expected growth. The need to hire additional staff when a business grows can often be bypassed by automating and streamlining processes.
Another problem for growing businesses is information chaos. This happens when poorly managed administration results in lost deals and inaccurate management information. Without accurate and timely information, you can easily make the wrong decision.
When a large part of an organization is automated, there are far fewer obstacles to growth. For example, if stock control, accounting management and customer relationship management are all controlled by an ERP system a sudden increase in orders should be able to be easily managed. This is especially true if your business combines ERP with CRM to streamline customer inquiries and client aftercare.
One of the biggest benefits of ERP is that when it is optimally configured it will provide you with real time reports that can highlight unexpected increases in enquiries or orders.
For a dynamic business, one of the biggest advantages of ERP is the business insight reporting function. Traditionally, you had to rely on monthly management accounting reports to compare business health against the business plan. Because of the lengthy delay between a significant change and the production of reports, decision makers were always reactive; often opportunities would be lost.
With real time reporting, an ERP system allows decision makers to quickly identify new market trends and proactively work to meet rising demand. This helps to prevent the bottleneck effect by allowing management to deploy resources in advance of an influx in new orders.
Managing rapid growth
An online ERP solution is the ideal option for a growing business. Modern ERP systems are modular, which means you can add on extra packages as and when they are needed. For example, in the early days you may only be interested in the modules that monitor orders, production and sales, but as your business starts to grow additional modules that support finance and customer services can be added.
The other benefit of choosing an online ERP system is that it runs on the software provider’s own computer systems; a business does not need to upgrade their computer hardware or purchase new software to get the latest ERP technology. In fact, online ERP essentially outsources the process to a specialized provider rather than relying on an internal IT department to manage the complex software.
Business processes that are computerized are more efficient; ERP works hard for business. ERP never sleeps and never takes time off work. Automation of business support services gives managers the freedom to develop new ideas and grow the business by reducing obstacles to growth.